Werth's aggressive play helps, hurts
Phils skipper wants right fielder to think smart on basepaths
PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth dove hard toward second base, but it was too late. Rays left-handed reliever J.P. Howell wheeled around and threw to shortstop Jason Bartlett, who had snuck in behind Werth.Out. Though Werth walked to start the eighth inning and stole second in Game 3 on Saturday, that effort was erased with what he called an "aggressive mistake," leaving him to trudge back to the dugout.
"That was a good pickoff move," Werth said. "It was a balk move, really. I've made some aggressive mistakes. I'm just playing my game. You look at the way I've ran the bases this year, I think I've made maybe three mistakes on the bases this year, and two have come in the World Series. Unfortunately, they've come on a big stage, and everything is magnified."Werth is just one member of a Phillies team leading the Rays, 2-1, in the 2008 World Series, despite a lack of offense. The lineup has hit .240 in the first three games and has gone 2-for-33 with runners in scoring position. Both of the hits were infield singles, only one of which produced a run. Werth has made some noticeable gaffes. He was doubled off first in Game 2 by Rocco Baldelli, when Chase Utley lined out to the right fielder. He also committed a first-inning error in Game 1 that put runners on second and third, rather than first and third. "I play aggressive baseball," Werth said. "I always have. Unfortunately, the plays I've made that [haven't gone well] have been in the World Series. I'm always going to be aggressive." What's manager Charlie Manuel to do? He wants his players to be aggressive, but smart. "I just remind him," Manuel said. "I'm sure he knows the mistakes he made, and he has to correct them. He's got to make sure he don't keep doing the same mistake over and over. There are going to be times we make mistakes, but at the same time, if you look at the percentage of how successful we are within that kind of as long as that outweighs those mistakes, I can live with that."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.